311 and 911 Dispatchers Celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Washington, D.C.  – This week marks National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. These are the call-takers and dispatchers that handle your calls to 311 and 911.   WHUR’s Taylor Thomas and Bobby Gailes today visited the District’s main communication hub for both emergency and non-emergency services to get a first hand look at how the system operates.  Karima Holmes, Director of the DC Office of Unified Communications says the call takers and dispatchers handled over 1.4 million calls for service last year.  That’s nearly 4,000 calls per day from people who are often in need of some kind of police or medical assistance.  These workers are your “first” first responders who are on the line long before emergency help arrives.  “They must also juggle critical tasks within seconds,often while battling fatigue amid increased workloads,” added Holmes.

Taylor Thomas getting a first hand look at a 9-1-1 call coming into the Office of Unified Communications

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the very first 911 call made in the US.  It was in Haleyville, Alabama back on February 16th, 1968.

Renee Nash


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Renee Nash, Director of Information and Public Affairs for WHUR, is a well-respected journalist who has covered a range of issues from local and national politics, to healthcare reform and civil rights. She has also spearheaded numerous award-winning projects including radiothons, town hall meetings and food and clothing drives. Over her 25-year career at WHUR, she has been a writer, reporter, producer and anchor. Renee serves on the boards of many organizations including the Edith P. Wright Breast Cancer Foundation and Sisters of Hope. She is the proud mom of Dominique and Delante.

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